RE3: Walsh v. Carnegie Library, Docket AP 2009-1150

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 5:43 PM


To: "AudreyBuglione" < >

Cc: "David Tessitor" < >, "David Tessitor" < >, "Carolyn D.Duronio" < >,

"Glenn A. Walsh" < >


To:   Audrey Buglione
From: Glenn A. Walsh
Copy: Carolyn D. Duronio, Reed Smith LLP
      David Tessitor

Subject: Additional Comments II - Statute of 1887 enabling Pennsylvania cities to fund public libraries

In my last message of 2010 January 25, I wrote:

> In the "Position Paper on Behalf of the Carnegie Library of
> Pittsburgh," it is also stated: "The Library similarly fails
> to qualify as a “local agency”.  At that time of the
> Library’s creation in 1890, there was no statute pursuant
> to which the Library could have been created."
> That is not true. Several years prior to the 1890 February
> 25 creation of the Carnegie Free Libraries of the City of
> Pittsburgh, Andrew Carnegie had offered the City of
> Pittsburgh $250,000 to build a public library for the City.
> His offer would have required the City to fund the library
> with a minimum annual subsidy of $15,000.
> At that time, the City Solicitor ruled that Cities of the
> Second Class (of which Pittsburgh is designated by the
> State) had no authority to use tax funds for a public
> library. Consequently, Andrew Carnegie's kind offer at that
> time had to be declined.
> In the next few years, the City asked the General Assembly
> to enact a law that permitted Cities of the Second Class to
> use tax funds for funding public libraries. This was
> accomplished, allowing the City to ask Andrew Carnegie to
> renew his offer.
> Ironically, Andrew Carnegie refused to renew the $250,000
> offer to build a library for the city. In those few years,
> he saw that the city had grown so much, that, instead, he
> offered one million dollars to build a library system for
> the city, including several branch libraries. With this
> offer, he did require the city to provide an annual subsidy
> of no less than $40,000. This is the offer that was
> gratefully accepted by the City of Pittsburgh on 1890
> February 25.
> So, by 1890 February 25, the Pennsylvania General Assembly
> had enacted a statute pursuant to which the Library could
> have been created.

The legislation I was referring to is 1887 Pa. Laws 118:

"No. 118

Empowering any city in this Commonwealth to take and hold donations of money, books, real and personal property, for the purpose of a free library in said city, and to make appropriations to maintain the same.

"Section 1. Be it enacted, &c., That it shall be competent for any incorporated city within this Commonwealth and the same is hereby empowered to take and hold any grant or donation of money, books and manuscripts, or property, real or personal, for the purpose of establishing a free library within the limits of such corporation, and to make provision, by annual appropriation, for the maintenance of such free library.

"APPROVED: The 23d day of May, A.D. 1887.


Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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